January 18, 2011
Health insurer Blue Shield says it won't comply with Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones' request to delay its latest double-digit rate increase until May. Instead, it has hired an independent actuary to go over the calculations supporting the new premiums for individual policies, which are due to take effect March 1. That's not much of a concession, given that a new state law requires insurers to submit any changes in rates to actuarial review. But maybe some good will come from this: With luck, the company's defiance will prompt Sacramento to give Jones some real authority over health insurance premiums.
January 14, 2011 |
Defying California's new insurance commissioner, Blue Shield of California has refused to delay controversial health insurance rate hikes for 60 days that prompted an uproar among customers who are seeing successive increases over the last five months of up to 59%. The nonprofit San Francisco-based insurer said it would submit its latest increase -- effective March 1 and averaging 15% -- for review by an outside expert. It pledged to issue refunds to customers if errors are found in its paperwork.
January 6, 2011 |
California's new insurance commissioner called for health insurer Blue Shield of California to delay controversial new rate hikes for 60 days, saying recent increases by the industry were alarming. On the job since Monday, Commissioner Dave Jones said he wants to closely examine Blue Shield increases planned for nearly 200,000 individual policyholders, whose rates would rise for the third time since October ? some as much as 59% total. "I believe the premium increases are unsustainable," Jones said, referring to successive hikes in recent years by Blue Shield and its competitors in California.
January 4, 2011 |
California's new insurance commissioner sought Monday to force health insurers to spend more of their revenue on medical care. In his first official act, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones ordered emergency regulations requiring insurance companies to devote at least 80% of their income to policyholders' claims in the state's individual insurance market. Jones' plan matches provisions in the new national healthcare law. Jones said the emergency regulations would enable him to enforce the 80% spending requirement in the federal law at a time when congressional Republicans are trying to kill funding for the measure.
November 20, 2010 |
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner rejected a call by industry financial analysts for a 28% increase in workers' compensation insurance premiums, which are paid by most of the state's employers. Instead, Poizner, in one of his last major acts before leaving office in January, recommended that rates stay flat. He suggested that insurers could do much more to cut costs by adopting a number of reforms authorized by the Legislature six years ago. "Our nation and our state are in the midst of a recession and unemployment rates are sky high," Poizner said Friday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 4, 2010 |
Bucking the national conservative trend, California Democrats swept all but one of the eight statewide elected offices, with the contest for attorney general too close to call Wednesday after a late surge by Democrat Kamala Harris. "It's a fine day today, isn't it?" said Tom Torlakson, a Democratic state assemblyman elected as California's next superintendent of public instruction. On the other side, Jon Fleischman, a vice chairman of the state Republican Party, titled a post-election analysis on his blog, "Random Thoughts After Being Run Over by a Truck.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 2010 |
When a Fresno RV dealer wanted a new sales permit recently, the state initially said no, citing "past business practices. " The man's firm had bounced $15,000 in fee checks to California's government, failed to follow a host of business regulations and misled consumers in an advertising campaign, officials said. The dealer also had lost a couple of lawsuits accusing his firm of selling defective motor homes, and he has been convicted of bribing a lender. Although field staffers at the Department of Motor Vehicles refused to approve a temporary permit, the businessman was allowed by their superiors to resume selling motor homes after Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis)
October 14, 2010 |
Two state assemblymen not much known beyond their districts are vying for a statewide office that has ample authority over automobile, home and life insurance coverage and is getting more power from the landmark federal healthcare law. The winning candidate for insurance commissioner ? either Democrat Dave Jones of Sacramento or Republican Mike Villines of Clovis ? will have a chance to help set up state programs as part of President Obama's national healthcare overhaul. The commissioner runs the California Department of Insurance, which oversees a $124-billion market.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 10, 2010 |
Voter attention invariably gravitates toward the top of the ticket and the glamorous job of governor ? the heated battle between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown in which the winner will be charged with steering California's ship of the state for the next four years. But who will be the crew at the captain's side? The winners of the other seven statewide offices will also hold great sway over California's future, enforcing laws, keeping the state solvent ? no easy task these days ?
October 7, 2010 |
For the second time in a month, a California Chamber of Commerce political action committee funded in part by major insurance companies is bankrolling TV ads to help Republican Mike Villines in his race against Democrat Dave Jones for state insurance commissioner. In campaign finance disclosure documents, the deep-pocketed chamber reported that it was spending $280,234 to fund "media production" for television advertisements that oppose Jones. The same report showed that the chamber's political action committee, called JobsPAC, received six contributions from insurance company interests totaling $387,000.